From your little quirks and habits, to the larger pillars of your personality, there are some things you'll never be able to change about yourself. "Innate personality traits are hardwired and often with us since birth or early childhood," therapist Kimberly Hershenson, LMSW tells Bustle. Think about things like your sense of humor, or your Type A personality. These traits make you you, and they can stick around for life.
That can sound like quite a sentence. I mean, is it actually impossible to change certain things about yourself? Well, the answer is yes and no. "It's better to embrace the traits you have been given (as long as they aren't unhealthy) than focus on changing yourself, because these traits are what make you unique."
If you're an introvert, for example, you can learn to love that about yourself and embrace it. But if there's a trait you hate, like a tendency towards lateness or procrastination, you can definitely work on it. "Focus on taking it one day at a time," Hershenson says."Tell yourself 'just for today, I won't engage in that habit.' Focusing on getting rid of the habit forever just sets you up for disappointment."
It's a slow process, but we all have the ability to better ourselves — it we're willing to put in the work. Read on for a few things that may be difficult to change, as well as a few you just need to accept. And that's OK.
1. How Sensitive You Are
If you cry during cute animal commercials, you'll probably always cry during cute animal commercials. As Hershenson tells me, this type of sensitivity doesn't really go away — which can be great, or kind of frustrating, depending on how you look at it. "It can be annoying when your feelings are easily hurt," she says. "But you're also likely a good listener and feel for others going through hard times."
2. What You Find Funny
While you can certainly expose yourself to new things, understand more references, and become wittier with time, your basic sense of humor probably won't change much during your life. "Whether you are often really serious or incredibly goofy, what you find funny will likely not change," Hershenson says. These things just seem to be hardwired from the beginning.
3. Your Type A Or Type B Personality
How you handle stress, and how much drive you have in life, can be deeply engrained, too. "If you're a Type A who likes things neat and orderly and always has a plan, it's unlikely you will become easygoing and spontaneous," Hershenson says. Sure, you might learn how to relax and roll with the punches, but your underlying thoughts and annoyances will probably stay the same.
4. How You Organize Your Life
Take a look at your life thus far, and assess how organized (or disorganized) it's been throughout the years. I bet you've been consistent one way or the other. "A lot of people want to change how they organize ... but this kind of change is hard to keep up," organizational expert Kelly McMenamin, co-founder of PixiesDidIt Inc, tells Bustle. "Why? Our brains are wired a certain way and it’s really difficult to rewire them." If you like to make piles, for example, you'll probably be a that way forever.
5. Your Desire For Introspection
You might be the type to sit in a park for hours, contemplating the universe. But your friend would never dream of doing such a thing. And that's OK. "When is comes to being introspective or a 'deep thinker,' some people ... don't have the inclination to go deeper to try and understand what makes them or others tick," therapist Julienne B. Derichs LCPC tells Bustle.
6. Whether You're An Introvert Or An Extrovert
While it's always possible to work on yourself and make changes, deep feelings of introversion or extroversion can stick around. "I think it is difficult for an introvert to become and extrovert, and visa versa," Derichs says. "This is more about what you need to recharge your batteries and what gives you energy, and I would say this trait is very difficult to change."
7. Your Level Of Stubbornness
"Knowing when to be able to let go of your agenda and accommodate someone else is not easy for most people," psychic and spiritual counselor Davida Rappaport tells Bustle. If this is you — you stick to your guns, and have trouble straying from your plans — you've probably been stubborn for forever. So, might as well work it to your advantage.
8. A Tendency Towards Anxiety Or Depression
A therapist and medication can work wonders when you're feeling anxious or depressed, so definitely don't feel stuck or like you'll have to struggle with these symptoms forever. That said, Derichs tells me many people have a natural tendency towards anxiety or depression, especially when it comes to how they relate to their environment. We all know that naturally anxious person, who's been jumpy since day one.
9. Whether Or Not You Like To Fight
Some of us are born fighters, always looking for something to bicker about or debate, while everyone else is retreating to the sidelines. As Derichs says, "You most likely will always have your preference for how you manage conflict, but learning what to 'get into' and what to 'let go' of is very doable."
10. Whether Or Not You Can Take The Blame
There are some people who shoulder all the blame when things go wrong, and others who deflect it at all costs. To figure out which side you might fall on, take a look at how you handle conflict in your relationships. "It's much more difficult to look at how our own behavior contributes to relationship problems than it is to blame the other," Derichs says. Which is why it can be difficult to change, if you aren't willing to put in the work.
11. Your Basic Preferences
What I mean by "preferences" are things like wanting to stay in versus going out, or making a decision based on facts versus feelings. "Your core preferences are almost impossible to change because they make you who you are," says author and life coach Kali Rogers. "Everything else, however, is fair game!"
If you'd really like to change something about yourself, don't give up. With therapy, time, and/or more life experiences, you never know who you can become.
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